8 November 2018, Writing – part x586, Developing Skills, How to Suspend Disbelief, Logic Issues
Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment. I’ll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher. More information can be found atwww.ancientlight.com. Check out my novels–I think you’ll really enjoy them.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning withhttp://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
- Don’t confuse your readers.
- Entertain your readers.
- Ground your readers in the writing.
- Don’t show (or tell) everything.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
- Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:
- Design the initial scene
- Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
- Research as required
- Develop the initial setting
- Develop the characters
- Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
- Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
- Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
- Write the climax scene
- Write the falling action scene(s)
- Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential titleBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective. The theme statement is: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30thnovel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 29th novel, working titleDetective. I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
For novel 30: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
For novel 31: TBD
Here is the scene development outline:
- Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
- Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
- Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
- Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
- Write the release
- Write the kicker
Today: Suspension of disbelief is the characteristic of writing that pulls the reader into the world of the novel in such a way that the reader would rather face the world of the novel rather than the real world—at least while reading. If this occurs while not reading, it is potentially a mental problem. To achieve the suspension of disbelief your writing has to meet some basic criteria and contain some strong inspiration. If you want to call the inspiration creativity, that works too. Here is a list of the basic criteria to hope to achieve some degree of suspension of disbelief.
- Reasonably written in standard English
- No glaring logical fallacies
- Reasoned worldview
- Creative and interesting topic
- A Plot
Logical issues can be real killers for the suspension of disbelief, however, from experience you know a few problems in logic or time and space don’t necessarily dump the reader. Some great examples of novels with ingrained logical fallacies are the Harry Potty novels and my favorite great example, Dragonsong.
The logical problems in Harry Potty mostly revolve around the power of magic and spells, but there are some time and place problems as well as means of magic travel issues. The fact is that the means of presentation and the obscurity of the problems prevent the reader from immediately catching them—that’s good.
In Dragonsomg, there is a glaring timing problem that is only visible with multiple readings. Again, that’s not so much a problem. In one of my novels that was on contract, the editor of one of the subsidy presses discovered a timing issue. It was a year in the world, but such an unobtrusive time problem that my primary editor, my readers, and I didn’t catch it. A couple of sentences fixed the problem.
So, when do logical problems become a problem? When they are glaring issues of reason. The reason you don’t see these too often is because a good editor should catch and ask the author to correct them. Reasonable authors don’t need help with grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Reasonable authors need help with logic, plot, and timing. These are difficult to keep straight in a 100,000 word novel.
In addition, really problematic logical issues will mean your novel isn’t even considered for publication. This is probably the greatest reason you won’t see many hard logical issues in professionally published works—the problem becomes one of acceptance for publication or of self-publication. This is the reason this is such an important issue for suspension of disbelief—it will prevent your work for being accepted for publication, or if you self-publish, it will ruin your work.
Them, how do you prevent logical issues? I can give you some ideas. We’ll look at that next.
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